By Ashley Hocking
While few people in this world get the chance to meet celebrities, Alyssa Elliott is related to one. Elliott is a sophomore at the University of Kansas and the niece of rock band Def Leppard’s lead singer Joe Elliott.
Elliott describes her relationship with her uncle as a very close bond.
“He’s so down to earth, and we can talk for hours,” Elliott said. “He has so many stories, and it’s fun to just listen to him talk.”
Joe and his family reside in Dublin, Ireland, so Elliott doesn’t get to see her uncle face-to-face very often. Listening to his music has served as an outlet for Elliott to connect with her uncle.
“Growing up, my parents would play his music in the car everywhere we went and in the house all the time,” Elliott said. “I grew up with that music. I still listen to it now. It’s a comfort to me.”
Elliott’s favorite song by Def Leppard is “Where Does Love Go When It Dies” from the 1996 album Slang.
“Joe actually wrote it, and I didn’t know that initially,” Elliott said. “The song is a lot different from their other work, and I really like it. He wrote it to go with the grunge rock era of the ‘90s.”
Elliott attributes her taste in classic rock to her uncle.
“My uncle filled my iPod when I was younger and all of it was classic rock, so that’s what I’ve listened to for a long time,” Elliott said.
Def Leppard has gone on tour 20 times with shows in the United States. Elliott has seen every tour her uncle performed in since she was in second grade.
Being a family member of the band’s lead singer has many perks, including front row seats, all-access passes, getting to see sound check, going backstage, private parking, and spending time in family rooms backstage.
When her uncle performs nearby, their time together is limited to a few hours after the concert because the band has to pack up and move on to the next stop on their tour the following day.
During middle and high school, being related to Joe Elliott became a part of Alyssa Elliott’s identity among her peers.
“My friends liked to talk about my uncle because they thought it was cool,” Elliott said. “People knew me as the ‘Def Leppard girl.’”
Elliott prefers to keep her relationship with Joe to herself because she doesn’t like to draw attention to it.
“I tried not to talk about it ever because I didn’t want people to define me based on who my uncle is,” Elliott said. “In the past, I struggled with people talking behind my back about it.”
While some people easily get caught up in fame, Elliott never forgets that her uncle is just a regular guy most of the time.
“He’s human, and a lot of people don’t understand that,” Elliott said. “Seeing behind the scenes of a band and a musician that tours is really cool. But you also see that it’s very taxing on their bodies to do their lifestyle that they live.”
Joe Elliott was one of the founding members of Def Leppard in 1977 when he was 17 years old. 38 years later, Def Leppard is still actively touring and creating music.
“Every one of the band members is very cool,” Elliott said. “They know how to do their job and they know how to do it well. It’s really cool to see that they’re still touring.”
Joe and his band’s achievements motivate Elliott in her daily life.
“He came from humble beginnings and showed me that becoming famous actually can happen to anybody,” Elliott said. “His band inspires me to be successful.”